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Relationship Leads to Coach's Departure

Officials Refuse to State Policy in Wake of Student, Squash Assistant's Involvement

By Andrew S. Chang

Daniel Lederman, who was hired as a part-time coach of the men's and women's squash teams last semester, left Harvard in January because he was involved in a romantic relationship with a student on the team, Lederman confirmed last week.

"It's my mistake," said Lederman, who is the head squash professional at the Longfellow Club in Wayland. "I have to suffer the consequences."

Athletic officials refused to respond to requests for comment on the nature of Lederman's departure.

Lederman, who said that his relationship with the player is now "nonexistent," also said he was unaware of any explicit rule that prevents athletic coaches from being involved in romantic relationships with student players.

The Department of Athletics refused to release any information about the University's code of conduct for Harvard coaches.

Dean of the College Harry R.Lewis'68, chair of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Standing Committee on Athletic Sports, declined to comment on Lederman's status, citing a policy of non-comment on individual personnel cases and referring all inquiries to the Department of Athletics.

Director of Sports Information John P. Veneziano suggested that Director of Athletics William J. Cleary '56-'58 was at least partly responsible for the decision to terminate Lederman.

"The decision was made at the level of the athletic director," Veneziano said.

Cleary did not respond to repeated messages left at his office over the course of two weeks.

Veneziano would not discuss the events leading to Lederman's departure, including whether or not an inquiry concerning Lederman's conduct was filed with the department.

Veneziano said that any inquiry into a coach's behavior would be "handled internally and handled appropriately," by the Department of Athletics.

The 1996-97 men's and women's squash media guide, which was only released to the public two weeks ago, does not include any mention of Lederman.

William J. Doyle, director of men's and women's squash, also did not respond to repeated messages left at his office last week.

Roy McNamara, the assistant coach of the men's and women's squash teams, shares an office phone with Doyle and did not return calls made to that number.

Lederman said he believes Doyle and McNamara were unaware of his relationship with the student, adding that he was not approached about the relationship by either coach until shortly before his departure.

One women's squash player, who asked to remain anonymous, said the nature of Lederman's relationship with the student was not widely known by members of the squash team.

"I had no idea [about Lederman's relationship with the student]," the player said. "I know I wasn't the only one."

All the players interviewed said Lederman was well-liked by many members of the team.

Lederman, 26, was a four-time junior and intercollegiate squash champion in South Africa. He came to the United States three years ago to study law.

Ivy C. Pochoda '98, captain of the women's squash team, said that she has not lost any respect for Lederman as a result of the incident.

"I don't look down on him," Pochoda said. "[His conduct] in no way changed my opinion of him."

The women's squash team won the Howe Cup, squash's team won the Howe Cup, squash's equivalent of a national championship, earlier this month. The team was 11-0 (5-0 in the Ivy League) this year, and has won 54 straight regular season matches and five consecutive national titles.

The men's team (13-0 overall, 6-0 Ivy) won a national championship this weekend, its seventh consecutive title, and has won 80 straight regular season matches.

Pochoda said that the women's team remained strong despite the difficulties raised by Lederman's departure.

"It's unfortunate that we had to lose a good coach," Pochoda said."[But] we've been able to work past this and put it behind us.

"I had no idea [about Lederman's relationship with the student]," the player said. "I know I wasn't the only one."

All the players interviewed said Lederman was well-liked by many members of the team.

Lederman, 26, was a four-time junior and intercollegiate squash champion in South Africa. He came to the United States three years ago to study law.

Ivy C. Pochoda '98, captain of the women's squash team, said that she has not lost any respect for Lederman as a result of the incident.

"I don't look down on him," Pochoda said. "[His conduct] in no way changed my opinion of him."

The women's squash team won the Howe Cup, squash's team won the Howe Cup, squash's equivalent of a national championship, earlier this month. The team was 11-0 (5-0 in the Ivy League) this year, and has won 54 straight regular season matches and five consecutive national titles.

The men's team (13-0 overall, 6-0 Ivy) won a national championship this weekend, its seventh consecutive title, and has won 80 straight regular season matches.

Pochoda said that the women's team remained strong despite the difficulties raised by Lederman's departure.

"It's unfortunate that we had to lose a good coach," Pochoda said."[But] we've been able to work past this and put it behind us.

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